Even as Democrats move into leadership positions of the House of Representatives, Republicans are announcing committee appointments to fight an expected deluge of investigations and questions for the current administration.
Rep. Clay Higgins is one of the latest announced appointments. The Louisiana Republican will serve for the first time on the House Oversight & Reform Committee, even as he loses seats on two other House committees.
The Oversight & Reform Committee focuses on government accountability and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. He will join high-profile conservative leaders like ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) on the committee.
Higgins also has retained his seat on the House Homeland Security Committee. He had previously sat on the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology and the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, seats which he lost when Democrats took over the House of Representatives earlier this month.
The change in House leadership means for the first time in his presidency that President Donald Trump does not control both chambers of Congress. This is a challenging time for the administration, as evidenced in last week’s vote to end the 35-day partial government shutdown without a guarantee of funding for a border wall as Trump demanded.
The Democratic control of the House also means increased scrutiny for the administration.
“We have got to hit the ground not running, but flying,” incoming chairman of the Oversight & Reform Committee Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said after his appointment to the chairmanship.
Most recently, Cummings said the committee has launched an investigation into the process for vetting security clearances for the White House staff.
In a statement announcing his appointment, Higgins said House Democrats will use the committee as a launching pad for attacks against the Trump administration, and that he will use his seat on the committee to oppose them.
“Democrats will do everything in their power to attack and obstruct President Trump,” Higgins said. “The Oversight & Reform Committee will be an important battleground over the next two years. I will be a loud voice against these liberal attacks.”
Jordan, a staunch and vocal supporter of the Trump administration’s policies, was more restrained in his welcoming statement for the new members.
“We welcome the new members to the Oversight Committee,” Jordan said. “Our job is to find and defend the truth. I look forward to working with each and every member of the committee to conduct serious fact-based oversight.”
Higgins also pledged to seek out and eliminate government excess in his new role.
“My focus will be reducing waste, fraud, and abuse within the federal government,” Higgins said. “Our government should serve the American people, not its own bureaucracy.”